Early in the second half, Richard Pitino had some extra words for Joey King after a timeout was over and the power forward had retaken his seat on the bench.
The coach put his face up to King's and let him have it.
Yes, several times King was slow to close out on a perimeter shooter, and he -- like every player in maroon and gold -- was scored on plenty.
But that wasn't Pitino's biggest concern -- his rants revolved around rebounding.
"He wasn't boxing out," Pitino said either.
He wasn't the only one. Rebounding has been a concern for this year's Minnesota team all year: the Gophers rank last in the Big Ten in defensive rebounding percentage and during the Gophers' 0-5 slump to open conference play, Pitino felt the need to implement elementary box-out drills in practice once more, something that would otherwise be considered a time-waster in the heart of the Big Ten slate.
Sunday's 90-71 blowout loss at Indiana brought a new low despite a rare matchup in which Minnesota had the size advantage.
The Hoosiers have out-rebounded ten of 13 Big Ten teams this year even with their undersized lineup, so the Gophers losing the battle on the boards wasn't completely shocking. But Minnesota didn't just lose, it was embarrassed. The Gophers managed just 16 boards vs. the Hoosiers, ten fewer than their next lowest total all season and less than half of Indiana's total (35). The Hoosiers -- who hadn't held a team to fewer than 21 rebounds this year -- grabbed ten offensive rebounds despite the fact that they shot a jolting 59.3 percent from the field. That means Indiana grabbed 45.5 percent of its misses, and it converted about half of those into points, tallying 11 on second chances.
That's a recipe for disaster.
"Obviously, when a team sets a school record for threes (Indiana had 18), you're disappointed," Pitino said. "But the rebounding was what really, really disappointed me ... we did not do a good job of that at all."
Part of this is due to Minnesota's zone, which is tougher to rebound out of because of the naturally created hole in the middle. Sunday, with a lower percentage of rebounds falling their way, starting center Mo Walker and power forward Joey King combined for just a single rebound. Minnesota's guards, meanwhile, struggled to corral the long rebounds created by all the perimeter shots Indiana took. That's mostly a matter of effort and blocking out their man when it comes to Indiana, the league's smallest team.
"They take a lot of shots that people are not ready for," Andre Hollins said. "It's a lot of long shots and they get a lot of long rebounds. That was one of the things that hurt us, rebounding out of the zones. They got a lot of long rebounds and we didn't grab them."
The sluggish performance on the glass was, after Indiana's three-point barrage, probably the biggest contributing factor to the Gophers' loss, and it was another reminder -- with good defensive rebounding teams Northwestern (Wednesday, 8 p.m.) and Wisconsin (Saturday at 11 a.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.) on deck, along with overall rebounding wizard Michigan State (Feb. 26 at 6 p.m.) -- that there is still a lot of work to be done.